Type: Black tea
Temperature: 200 degrees Farenheit (slightly below boiling)
Infusion: 4 minutes (3-5 minutes recommended)
Darjeeling tea is one of my favorite types of black teas. Different from other Indian teas (see my post about Chai here), it is a fine and delicate tea that is exclusive to the region of Darjeeling. It is often called the "Champagne of teas" due to its limited production and rarity. This applies mostly to first flush Darjeeling teas, which means it is the first harvest of the season. First flush Darjeelings tend to be a lot lighter than a typical black tea, and even greener in the color of their dry leaves.
Pictured above are the dry leaves of a second flush Darjeeling tea from the estate "Margaret's Hope." This tea has a nice body to it, but doesn't carry an astringency like other Indian and Sri Lankan teas do (such as Assam or Ceylon teas). The taste is rather peppery and floral.
Darjeeling tea is my substitute for "English Breakfast Tea" any day of the week. Breakfast teas tend to blend Assam (India) and Yunnan (China) teas, and are much more full bodied and bolder in flavor, and sometimes are bitter as well. My personal preference is something just a bit lighter.
There is a lot to learn about Darjeeling teas. For instance, there is a special grading system for any teas produced in Darjeeling:
SFTGFOP: Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
FTGFOP: Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
There are many other classifications for grading the quality of Darjeeling teas. Let's save that for another post! Try a cup of Darjeeling on your next free morning, and bust open that book you've been meaning to read while you're at it.